Coralie Flaskett: a snapshot of the role of women in Tacoma’s musical history

— by Kim Davenport

It is my pleasure to share a paper by my colleague, Dr. Michael Berry, in which he explores the life and musical career of Coralie Flaskett, a prominent piano performer and teacher who lived in Tacoma from 1890 until 1978. This paper originated as a talk given at the Washington State Historical Society on February 20, 2014, and addresses ideas of gender in musical life in the early part of the twentieth century—around the time of the women’s suffrage movement. Click here to read more!

Like many musicians and scholars I work with, Dr. Berry wears many professional hats: he teaches a variety of music courses at both UW Seattle and UW Tacoma. He is an active performer on the double bass. He has just recently celebrated the publication of his textbook, Listening to Rap: An Introduction. And finally, he shares one of my passions: researching local music history.

Dr. Berry and I have both enjoyed diving deep into the stories of individual musicians active in Tacoma during the early decades of the 20th century – and we have both discovered that some of the most interesting of these stories involve women. A few years back, he was generous enough to sit down with me for a conversation about several women who made an impact on Tacoma’s musical scene in the early decades of the 20th century.

To date, only the students in my Musical History of Tacoma class have seen this – but now it is my pleasure to share our conversation with a wider audience. Enjoy!


Photo courtesy Washington State Historical Society.

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